To What Extent Did Royal Authority Decline In The Years In The Years 1547 1558

1714 words - 7 pages

To what extent did Royal authority decline in the years 1547-1558? (45 marks)

The years of 1547-58 have been quite commonly known as the mid-Tudor crisis; therefore this question is asking us, was there a mid-Tudor crisis? Historians such as A.F Pollard and W.R.D Jones believe that yes there was a crisis occurring in the mid-Tudor period which may have had an adverse effect on Royal authority. The view was that there was a crisis in face of combination of weak rulers, number of financial and economic problems, a series of rebellions, religious reformations, foreign policy failures and the fact that Edward to be too young for rule and Mary was a woman. Henry VI had survived as king as a ...view middle of the document...

However, there is one simple underlying fact, these rebellion all failed. The Ketts rebellion was crushed by Northumberland (known as back then, the Earl of Warwick). The Ketts rebels were not even against the Monarch; their aims were not to overthrow Edward VI but were to ensure Somerset upheld his promises of ban of Enclosures and help of poor. The Ketts rebels were even chanting “God save King Edward VI” when the royal herald arrived at Norwich. So how can you say that royal authority declined when the rebels themselves were supporting the King? The western rebellion was too far away to pose any threat towards the Monarch, therefore using the rebellions argument to suggest that royal authority declined is void.
One could state that royal authority did decline during the reign of Edward VI as the Duke of Somerset ruled in an autocratic manner. He took many decisions without consulting the Regency Council; instead, the government of England was increasingly conducted through Somerset’s household and there was an increased use of proclamations, rather than Parliament. However, it could be argued that these were necessary given the continual crises that the government faced. Also Somerset was King Edward VI uncle; he was the natural ruler of England until Edward came of age. He ruled in an autocratic manner as it would mean he is a strong leader making his own decisions. Somerset’s policies were somewhat, poor, such as the Enclosure commission, debasement and war with Scotland and France. It led to social unrest and economic disruption. However these policies were popular, the nobility and gentry were in support of the war due to English pride and France being our natural enemy. The social policies were popular with the poor, Somerset was even known as the “Good Duke”. The war with Scotland and France, debasement, reformation, were all Henry VIII policies, so Somerset was continuing the Monarch`s policies thus showing that Royal authority most certainly did not decline.
In 1550, there was a coup against Somerset and the earl of Warwick who renamed himself as the duke of Northumberland took over. I think it’s pretty pathetic to try and argue that this shows the decline of royal authority. The overthrow of Somerset was necessary, Northumberland improved some of England`s problems by ending the war with Scotland and France (Treaty of Bologna and Treaty Greenwich), he also ended debasement. Professor MacCulloh`s claims that the “Dudley years were a period of painstaking reconstruction” Furthermore, Northumberland ruled via the Privy council for a while which was Henry VIII decree when he was dying thus showing the overwhelming power and influence the Monarch possessed even in absence of a ruling King. During Northumberland’s rule, Edward had grown to be quite mature and very intelligent; he sat in on Privy Council meetings and was involved laws. For example he was involved in the modification of the prayer book, his black rubric. He was also...

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